Wednesday, 20 June 2012

The Girl in the Window : 2nd draft

second draft based on some feedback from friends. Smoothed out the voice, and made the center bit less choppy and obvious.

We all have our faults, y'know? No one is perfect--not even Brian, though he was maybe as close to perfect as anyone I've ever known. Maybe if I told you a bit about some of his faults, it'd help. Make things a little clearer. Help you understand how he got himself into this mess in the first place. I dunno. But who better to tell you than me? I mean, who knows him better than I do?

When I first met Brian, we were in middle school. I was on my way home, when a group of eighth graders cornered me in the alley I always took as a shortcut. The alley between the SuperSave and Bernie's. You know the one. Anyway, these three older boys surrounded me, started shovin' me around, calling me names. "Tabitha, Scabitha, gross gunty Flabitha." Kids can be real assholes, you know that?

The biggest of the three--I think it was Billy Ray--shoved me down in the dirt. They took my backpack and were digging through it, dumping out all my stuff--pens, notebooks, my sketchpad--while this kid, Billy Ray Warbler, stood with his foot on my back. Its when they were talkin', wonderin' what to do to me next--horrible things, I'm tellin' you, really bad--that Brian rounded the corner, and even though he was a year younger, and had half of Billy Ray's body mass, he started hollerin', kicking up a fuss that would've gotten the shit kicked outta him if the police station hadn't been just a block away. These bigger boys got scared and hightailed it, left me face down in the dirt cryin'.

Brian could've left me then. I would've been safe. But he didn't. He was too big for that. He came over, asked me if I was alright, dusted me off, helped me gather up my things. He even offered to walk me to my front door, in case they came back, but I wouldn't let him. Maybe I was a little vainer back then, but our house isn't anything to shake a stick at, and I didn't want him seein' it.

The point I'm tryin' to make is that Brian was generous, kind almost to a fault. He was so filled with love that he would give away pieces of his heart like it was parade candy. I mean, seriously, the guy had seventeen girlfriends between the tenth grade and his second year of college. Nineteen if you count Laurie and Sue, but I don't. I think we can all agree that that was two weeks of mistakes better left forgotten. Every one of those girls would walk away with a piece of him, an' as he got older, I could see him getting a little more guarded, a little less like the boy who'd helped me in the alley between the SuperSave and Bernie's. He got distant. So, I guess his generosity is his first real fault, if you can call it that.

Anyway, from that day on, I knew we'd be best friends. And we were, though I don't think Brian could ever admit it outright. I wasn't exactly what you'd call "popular", if you hadn't guessed. Not some fuckin' cheerleader. Brian's second major fault was that he always cared too much about what people thought of him. That's why he'd never acknowledge our friendship publicly. That stung a little, I'll admit now. Sometimes it stung more than a little. In his defense, though, he always had my back. An' I always had his.Those seventeen girlfriends? They never got to know him like I did. Not even close.

Brian's third fault--and this is the biggest one--was that he was too trusting. Always too trusting. This is prolly a bad example, but I remember the first time his so-called "buddies" asked him out drinkin'. (I say "so-called" 'cause they were always gettin' him into trouble. He would've done better without them around). He was, I dunno, fourteen? It was our first real party, an'I tagged along, even though I wasn't drinkin'. They told him it would be fun to do shots of tequila, but they lied. He trusted them, and he wound up spending most of the night heaving up the ham and provolone sandwich his Mom--Jane, sweet lady-- had made him for lunch. He wouldn't even let me help him. Kept pushing me away, telling me to just fuckin' leave him alone. Yeah, that was pretty messed up. Though that experience didn't put him off of booze. By the time he'd finished his second year of college -- did I mention we were both lucky enough to get into the state college here together? Yeah, different programs, but at least we got to be on the same campus-- he was partyin' every weekend. That probably goes back to 
him carin' about what people thought and all. His need to belong. But in the end, I guess that's what everyone is looking for, y'know?

But about Brian being too trustin' . . .the moment I met Samantha, I knew she couldn't be trusted. I mean, think about it. Can any woman with red painted fingernails and red lipstick be trusted? Especially one who wears her skirt about four inches above the knee? I'm not really one to subscribe to stereotypes, but there was somethin' evil about her, that I sensed right off. They were eating lunch together outside the campus cafeteria. Her long black hair shone down her back and she was smoking a cigarette, probably giving Brian lung cancer. All that second hand smoke. She smoked like a chimney, or like Satan. I'm not sure. You'd think she coulda at least quit, for his sake.

Apparently, he had met her a few nights before at the on-campus bar, the Lazy Owl. I hadn't been able to make it that night, because I was visitin' my father up at Sunnybrook. I guess you would know all about him, wouldn't you?  If I'd been there, I would have put a stop to it. But by the time I first saw Samantha, it was too late. She'd sunk her claws into him. That was probably why her nails were so red, nevermind her lips. Harpy.

Within a week they were facebook official. Within a month there were 142 pictures of them up together, mostly of her being a camera whore, shovin' Brian to the background. Which is exactly what their relationship was like, though I don't think he really noticed. He was totally smitten with her. She must've been great in bed, but I don't really like to think about it.Brian, in bed, I mean. I'm not that kinda girl.

She would text him constantly. I checked his phone once. Every five minutes it was "I wuv you snugglerabbit", or "can't wait to see u tonite", or "Should I buy those shoes we saw?". Disgusting. She was slowly beginning to take over his life. Every single evening was spent with her. He slept at her place at night, and ate lunch with her every day. He bought her things--clothes, jewelry, concert tickets. Like I said, Brian was always really generous. I imagine she felt like she had a pretty sweet deal in him, and wanted to keep it that way. Yet, for some reason, I was the only one who could see it. I was the only one who realized how she was manipulating him towards that night back in March when he got down on one knee at the Oriental Gardens and asked her to marry him.

I couldn't let that happen. You have to understand. I couldn't. Brian was too essentially good to wind up bound for life with that crazy, overbearing, greedy, red-nailed . . . sorry.

So, I decided to put an end to it. The night all this happened, I went over there, to their new apartment, while Brian was still at work. All I wanted to do was talk to her. Confront her. Call her out for using Brian in the same way all of his other girlfriends had. I couldn't stand to see him hurt again. She pretended not to know who I was, but I knew she knew better. I knew Brian would have told her about me. After all, I was his best friend.No way he'd hide someone that important from the girl he wanted to marry. 

I guess that made me angry. That she pretended not to know who I was. 

It was when I was pulling the stainless steel kitchen knife from her chest cavity for the fifth time that Brian walked in. Though she was gone at that point, her blood turning the white tiles crimson, her claws were still in him. It was the first time I'd ever seen Brian really angry, when he lunged at me, but I knew he'd get over it. True friends can never stay angry at eachother for long, you know what I mean?

Its true. He didn't really look angry anymore, when his eyes were glazing over, and I laid him down on the floor. He looked peaceful. Peaceful, like he finally understood. I think, at the end, he finally knew how much I meant to him. I knew that I had done the right thing. 

So those were Brian's flaws: he was too generous, too concerned with appearances, an' too trusting, all of which led to the situation the other night. But I can't really blame him. Like I said, we all have our flaws. Its just a matter of learnin' to deal with them, and make the right decisions.

Am I right?

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